Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up newsletter, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.
This week: Lil Yachty’s TikTok trip to “Poland” results in a likely viral hit, Fleetwood Mac are back on our TV dials with another catalog classic, and a molasses-slow Thundercat jam finds unlikely success in sped-up form.
Lil Yachty Sets Sail With Viral Hit “Poland”
As he did with “Minnesota” early in his career, Quality Control/Motown rapper Lil Yachty has another viral hit with a falsetto’d hook about a traditionally cold-weather climate. In this case, it’s “Poland,” whose high-pitched, vibrato’d refrain of “I took the wock to Poland” became a TikTok phenomenon before the full-length version of the song was ever released – with even Billboard cover star Steve Lacy getting in on the fun (and fellow alt-R&B sensation Foushée providing backing harmonies).
On Tuesday (Oct. 11), Yachty released the full (well, 1:23) song to all streaming services, along with an accompanying Cole Bennett-directed Lyrical Lemonade video. It’s too soon post-release to have official stream or sales totals for the song yet, but the early signs of it being a chart smash are encouraging: The song debuted at No. 12 on Spotify’s US Daily 200 chart, with nearly 700,000 plays in less than 24 hours, while the video has already racked up over 2.3 million global views on YouTube, ranking as the No. 2 clip on the site’s Trending chart.
If it makes the Hot 100, it would be the rapper’s first entry since the Kodak Black-featuring “Hit Bout It” reached No. 67 in March 2021 – and if it keeps trending up, it could become his first top 40 hit since his featured appearance on KYLE’s “iSpy” brought him to No. 4 in April 2017. – AU
Fleetwood Mac: ‘Everywhere’ Once Again
Few artists have defined this old-is-new-again era of pop music better than Fleetwood Mac, whose “Dreams” revival in 2020 shot the 1977 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit back to just outside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and convinced any remaining skeptics of the game-changing power of TikTok. Two years later, they’re back once more on the Billboard charts with a classic hit – albeit a little more modestly this time, and through the slightly more old-fashioned route of an unavoidable ad synch.
The group’s 1988 No. 14 Hot 100 hit “Everywhere” is featured in a Chevy EV commercial that has played extensively on TV since its late September debut, particularly on NFL Sunday and during the MLB playoffs. The added exposure from the commercial, in which various Chevy users drive while bopping and singing along to the catchy single, has resulted in “Everywhere” rising from 1.1 million official on-demand U.S. streams for the week ending Sept. 15 to 1.7 million the week ending Oct. 6, according to Luminate (a rise of 57%). Downloads have been even more robust, with sales totals of the Warner-released single exploding from just over 300 in sales to nearly 4,400 over the same span (a 1,227% gain) – launching the song to No. 7 on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales chart, their best showing there since “Dreams” hit No. 2 in 2020. – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Thundercat’s “Them Changes,” Sped Up and Trending Up
Thundercat’s “Them Changes,” released in 2017, is getting the TikTok treatment. Although the slow-and-low funk single has always fared well on the platform thanks to its iconic bass line, a sped-up version of the song’s intro and first two lines are going viral, leading young stars like Maddie Ziegler and Joshua Bassett to use it in their content. There’s no one specific trend for how this song is used, but it seems dancing videos and Halloween-related videos are the most popular, due to the line “nobody move there’s blood on the floor.”
Some of the hype might have been fueled by Thundercat’s label Brainfeeder releasing an official “sped-up” version of the track on Spotify on Oct. 6, right as “Them Changes” was gaining ground. So far, it has gained a solid 218.9K streams to date on Spotify, but the remix has already racked up 310.9K videos on TikTok. All this has led the track to see a nearly 70% increase in U.S. on-demand streams for “Them Changes” this week, according to Luminate, taking the five-year-old track to nearly 2 million weekly streams for the week ending Oct. 6. – KRISTIN ROBINSON
‘Cyberpunk’ Goes Pop With Rosa Walton Track
As one-half of the British alt-pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma, Rosa Walton is responsible for some of the year’s strongest synth-pop tunes on the group’s third studio album, Two Ribbons. Yet Walton’s dreamy, ultra-melancholy 2020 solo track “I Really Want to Stay at Your House” has become her biggest crossover hit of 2022, thanks to its use in the extended universe of the mega-popular action video game Cyberpunk. (The song is also credited to Hallie Coggins, Walton’s in-universe persona created for the game.)
After first appearing on the fictional ‘Body Heat Radio’ station in the 2020 game Cyberpunk 2077 (and on the second volume of the game’s official soundtrack, released on Lakeshore Records), “House” was used again in Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, an anime spin-off series that premiered last month on Netflix. That new synch has sent the song soaring on streaming platforms — from 14,000 U.S. on-demand streams during the week prior to the Sept. 13 premiere of Edgerunners, to a whopping 3.17 million streams during the week ending Oct. 6, according to Luminate.
Although it’s being championed across social media by Cyberpunk diehards, it’s also transcended the tie-in, giving Walton her first Global 200 entry (No. 114 this week) and even crashing the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart in the U.S., at No. 23. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
Q&A: Joe Barham / CEO & Co-Founder of HIFI Labs, on What’s Trending Up in His World
HIFI Labs is an artist mentorship collective. What has been its biggest focus in 2022?
Working with musicians to create the best possible ways to inspire their community and connect with fans, fueled by web3 resources. HIFI Labs builds tools to create these connections and experiences through partnerships with artists and entities like RAC, Dove Cameron, 88Rising, Interpol, and NVAK Collective. We also have focused heavily on education and creating resources for musicians as it relates to the web3 space. This is executed via tools like our Web3 Artist Cohort (a virtual immersive program to help emerging musicians develop their next project using Web3 tools). We also have a passionate Discord community and an open-source network for idea-sharing called EQ.
How has the rapidly advancing world of Web3 changed how HIFI Labs operates?
It creates an opportunity for artists to own the relationship with their fans and offers value for both the short term and long term. So many of the systems in the music industry are focused around short team gains that risk long term sustainability. For example, a typical deal puts more emphasis on the success of a song over the artist. With the mechanics behind web3 tech, you create the opportunity for an artist to have short term promotion around a single release while directly connecting to fans forever, identifying and potentially incentivizing their biggest supporters.
When HIFI Labs started we were always focused on decentralized artist development in that we would build custom activations that could exist across platforms, but since web3 has evolved we’re now focusing our energy on creating these same activations and tools – BUT on-chain, which allows interoperability across platforms.
Over the past few weeks, several artists have publicly expressed concern over the current economic realities around touring. What do you think is the key to long-term sustainability?
Similar to most of the industry, it really is built for the top 1%, and even though so many of the people working on the touring side are incredible, the economics have always been brutal. On a positive note, I think it’s really important that more artists are speaking out on this.
There’s great opportunity in two places here. One – some of the middle people in this industry are taking too high of a fee and technology can lower that fee while giving more to the artist. Secondly, once artists own more of the relationship to their fans, both sides will have a much more successful exchange of value. For so long, the email list was one of the main marketing drivers for opening bands on tour. That becomes supercharged with web3 technology and new value is created around discovering artists early and artists in general. This can really improve the economics in the music biz.
Fill in the blank: more music industry professionals need to be thinking about _______.
The artist being the artist. Finding ways to bring more value to a beautiful song that can move the world. So many of the new tools and structures are built to battle this attention economy which is currently hard to avoid if you want to compete with 100k songs coming out everyday. That said, with the relationship between a UGC-powered internet and better incentive structure for fans there is a world where enough value can be created by sharing music and artists creating and performing it.
I struggle with parts of the creator economy asking artists to spend more time signing and mailing posters than writing a song. As an industry, let’s try to build better systems that create value for the song and those who can do it beautifully. This is better for the fans and supporters and though it sounds idealistic I actually think it’s very possible and starting to happen now. – J.L.
Season’s Gainings: The Neighbourhood and Girl in Red Continue to Embrace the Fall
They’ve been streaming perennials for years now – in fact, “Sweater Weather” still holds the position for the longest consecutive stay on Spotify’s US Daily 200 chart, with 766 straight days. But both that Neighbourhood smash (relased on Columbia in 2012) and Girl in Red’s fan favorite “We Fell in Love in October” (AWAL in 2018) always seem to perk up around this time of year, as the weather gets colder and the calendar page is officially turned to spooky season.
This year is no exception: “Sweater Weather” has steadily gained in official on-demand U.S. streams over the past five weeks, rising from just under 7 million for the week ending Sept. 8 to over 8.1 million for the week ending Oct. 6, according to Luminate, while “October” has exploded from under 2.5 million the week ending Sept. 29 to over 3.8 million the following frame, a 53% gain. Even more telling is the spike in unofficial UGC (user-generated content) streams of The Neighbourhood’s signature hit, which have gone from 2.5 million to 8.5 million over the same five-week span – a sure sign of music fans cozying up to the second-coldest season. – AU